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SESAME Exercise in Cyprus: Innovative Technologies Tested for Enhanced Search and Rescue Operations

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On the 2nd of December 2023, a large-scale earthquake simulation exercise took place in the city of Larnaca, in Cyprus. During the exercise cutting-edge technologies aiming at optimizing search and rescue operations in emergency situations were tested and evaluated.

The exercise was carried out within the context of the European Horizon2020 research project “Secure and Safe Multi-Robot Systems” (SESAME), which brings together 17 partners from EU and UK, including leading universities and research institutes, leading robotics manufacturers and technology providers, and industrial, agricultural and government organisations that rely on robotic systems. The SESAME project aims to develop a new generation of Multi-Robot Systems (MRS) for key European sectors, utilizing among others Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning tools.

The scenario of the exercise, organized by Cyprus Civil Defense in collaboration with the KIOS Research and Innovation Center of Excellence at the University of Cyprus, included search and rescue incidents resulting from an earthquake, by using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones). Numerous First Responders and experts from the Cyprus Civil Defense and the KIOS Center of Excellence participated in the exercise.

During the exercise several cutting-edge SESAME technologies were tested and evaluated, including:
SafeDrones: A software tool responsible for the detection of hardware issues that can affect the safety and reliability of the system.
SafeML & DeepKnowledge: Software tools for addressing uncertainty in the detection of individuals by drones.
SecurityEDDI: Software tool for identifying and preventing cyber-attacks that can have an impact on the drone’s functionality.
ConSerts: Software tool for assessing the reliability during drone operation based on different requirements.
SINADRA: Software tool for assessing reliability and managing environmental risks during drone operations.
OpenVas: Software tool for examining the system’s security and proposing solutions to enhance it.
Collaborative Localization: Software tools for enabling synchronized communication between drones to ensure safe landings in case of cyber-attacks.
These technologies can significantly improve first responders’ capabilities in crisis management, reducing search and rescue time and enhancing situational awareness.

The Cyprus Civil Defense, Officer, Mr. Christoforos Konstantinou said that, “the technologies developed within the context of the SESAME project are important and beneficial for the Cyprus Civil Defense, as through their utilization First Responders can significantly minimize their response time during search and rescue operations”.

On behalf of the KIOS Center of Excellence, Research Associate, Dr. Panagiota Nikolaou said that “the technologies developed in the SESAME project address several challenges posed by Multi-Robot Systems, including uncertainty, variability and the interplay between safety and security.”

Video on the SESAME Exercise in Cyprus:

More information about the SESAME project: 

The SESAME project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No. 101017258